Although the moratorium on bauxite mining in Pahang is now a thing of the past, operations have yet to resume due to a delay in issuance of standard operating procedures for the practice. As a result, Pahang landowners have begun to petition the state government seeking their intervention.
Datuk Md Sohaimi Mohamed Shah, who is an assemblyman from Sungai Lembing, told domestic media late last week that his office has heard complaints from several landowners who are upset that bauxite mining still hasn’t begun.
“There are more than 300 landowners in Felda Bukit Goh, Felda Bukit Kuantan and Bukit Goh Youth Land Scheme (RTP) who are said to have signed an agreement with mining operators, but the mining operators are unable to carry out mining operations because of the moratorium,” he explained.
“The problem is, some of the landowners had taken deposit payments from the mining operators, making them (land owners) liable to legal action if mining activities cannot proceed.
“Even if the mining operations cannot proceed, the landowners will also not to able to use the land for other purposes, including agriculture activities.”
Separately, Bukit Goh Village Community Management Council (MPKK) chairman Jefri Salim invited complaining landowners to sign on with the newly-formed Pertubuhan Gagasan Dua Generasi, promising that the organization would make inquiries on their behalf.
Though the bauxite mining moratorium lapsed at the end of March, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr. Xavier Jayakumar said in mid-March that the moratorium’s end did not necessarily mean the beginning of mining, as all relevant parties first needed to come to an agreement on the SOPs under which they would work.
“The Mineral and Geoscience Department will not approve the operational mining scheme (OMS) for any holder of the lease or mining licence until the OMS is fulfilled, in particular, approval of the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA),” he said at the time.